Interviewed by Great British Entrepreneur Awards head of content, Jonathan Davies, Guy Wilmot, partner at Russell-Cooke covers a variety of topics. From how to make your business more attractive to investors as a whole, to a simple list of do’s and don’ts, Guy covers all the bases on how to most effectively get your business the funding it needs.
Guy specialises in a variety of business law, including data protection, commercial contracts and terms of business and brand registration, protection and licensing. Initially joining Russell-Cooke as a trainee in 2002, he quickly qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and eventually made his way to partner in 2012.
It’s not difficult to see why Guy is so sought after by big businesses and start-ups alike. Giving an astonishing amount of detail in his explanations, Guy’s experience shows, giving a deep dive into not only funding but the law surrounding a variety of business-related topics.
”Social impact has become a lot more important, there are social impact investors who will only invest in businesses where they can see a social impact”
Guy’s opinions may well just change your perception of investing, Not only describing how to make your business more attractive to a variety of investors but also you yourself. Guy describes what different types of investors, incuding angel investors and venture capitalists, look for in not only a business but the entrepreneur. Guy also goes as far as to even give brief advice on how to succeed without investors at all, his experience as a lawyer has given him a broad view of a variety of problems commonly faced by start-ups, including tiffs with co-founders and even investors themselves.
Covering key points such as the commonality of entrepreneurs not only overselling themselves but underselling too. Guy challenges the image of investing that might be dead-set in a good few start-ups’ heads. “There’s a tendency to think of fundraising as something you just do, it’s just seen as validation, someone believes in you enough to invest,” he says, further elaborating that, in fact, plenty of start-ups have become very successful purely through bootstrapping themselves.
“…don’t put all your eggs in the investment basket.”
Aptly describing how to secure investment, Guy covers how to walk away from it too. Something that might seem like a crazy concept to a lot of start-ups, he describes the drama associated with why someone might want to do that. Over-involved angel investors, micromanaging investors or otherwise, investors that are completely absent are just a few of the examples given as to what you should look out for as an entrepreneur.
On top of all that, the legal expertise of Guy isn’t lost on Jonathan, who gets an earful of advice on what to get in order legally, even hearing about the disdain many investors have for NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) and how, despite it being common practice for start-up’s to get one, why you don’t really need one.
Presentation, procuring, perception and of course, the pandemic are all covered by Guy, who’s helped many entrepreneurs across the years. He clearly firmly believes in not only the power of investing but also the individual behind the business. Furthermore, he comments on how investing is one of the few scenes unaffected by the pandemic, even describing the current state as “pre-pandemic levels”.
There are a few points Guy thinks should be taken away from his interview:
- Don’t take more than you need.
- Don’t put all your eggs in the investment basket.
- Do the boring stuff and do it well, investors look for stability.
- Don’t underestimate how long the investment process takes.
“Ideas are cheap and execution is everything.”
If you’re an entrepreneur who wants a fresh insight, a more elaborate explanation of some of the key points or you’re just someone that wants to hear about the potentially juicy drama that can be found between investor and investee, check out the session above.